Hong Kong stocks are having a pretty amazing run right now.
The Hang Seng climbed another 0.84% on Friday, capping off a 7.3% surge in Hong Kong’s main stock index this week, as mainland Chinese investors have flooded into the city’s markets.
The Hong Kong-Shanghai stock exchange connect that opened in November last year was initially seen as a bit of an embarrassment, with the amount of capital flowing back and forth nowhere near the limit that the Chinese government had set.
That’s now history, and Hong Kong’s stock exchange wants the limit placed on cash flows from mainland China raised by 30% to keep up with the increased demand. For the first time in 8 months on Friday, the city had to intervene in currency markets and sell Hong Kong Dollars to keep the currency in its official trading range.
Hong Kong stocks are up 10.9% since March 27, when the Chinese authorities loosened the stock exchange connect’s rules — mutual funds can now get in on the link.
Here’s how it looks at the moment:
But there’s an even more momentous occasion just around the corner if Chinese investors keep up their current levels of interest. According to Bloomberg, Hong Kong is poised to overtake Japan as the world’s third-largest equity market.
The value of equities listed in Hong Kong rose to $US4.9 trillion on Thursday, catching up to the $US5 trillion total for Japanese stocks. Mainland shares in Hong Kong jumped 8.9 per cent this week, the best performance of 93 equity gauges tracked by Bloomberg, helping put Hong Kong on course to take third spot behind the U.S.’s $US24.7 trillion and mainland China’s $US6.9 trillion. Turnover in Hong Kong surpassed Japan on both Wednesday and Thursday.
The stock mania that pushed the Shanghai Composite Index up 87 per cent in the past 12 months spread to Hong Kong this week, after valuation discounts in the city reached the most extreme levels since 2011 and mainland authorities made it easier for domestic funds to use a cross-border bourse link. Baring Asset Management Ltd. says the rally in Hong Kong has room to run.
That’s good news for Hong Kong right now but might spark some concern — Chinese shares have exploded, and some people are worrying the rally, which has brought in a lot of new and inexperienced investors, might not last. Recent research suggested that 6% of new Chinese stock holders can’t actually read.